Fantasist & Futurist
- Nov 23, 2002
I've been collecting together quite a few small stories from the past week or so:
1. How a star blew-up - but didn't
Recognize the pic above? It's Eta Carinae, one of the most famous images of an exploding star. And yet, there is still a living star at the center of that. How did it survive?
By using light echoes, scientists have been able to gauge what happened - and truth is stranger than fiction: Astronomers uncover new clues to the star that wouldn't die
As the animation shows, three stars came to orbit each other, but at some point one ended up smashing into Eta Carinae, while the third was flung away into deep space:
2. How a star blew-up - and became younger
When a star explodes, it's supposed to leave a hot center in a cloud of cool gas. Except that HuBi1 has done the reverse and is a cool centre in a hot cloud. How? Because it only blew off its outer layers - leaving it looking younger: Explosive facelift left star looking much younger than its true age
3. Brown Dwarfs get weirder
Brown Dwarfs are either giant planets or failed stars - no one's quite sure how to categorize them. And answering that question going to become even less simple if the wonderfully-named SIMP J01365663+0933473 is anything to go by - a wandering rogue, alone in deep space, has a magnetic field 200 times stronger than Jupiter - and no one can figure out why: VLA detects possible extrasolar planetary-mass magnetic powerhouse
4. Space gets weirder
How fast is the universe expanding? Well, that's a problem - the Hubble Constant is at the center of this question, but no one knows exactly what it is.
Two sets of very accurate measurements both disagree with each other enough to make us question our assumptions about the universe: The universe's rate of expansion is in dispute – and we may need new physics to solve it
5. Meteorites reveal secrets
There are two stories about how meteorites are helping to unlock the secrets of the early solar system:
The first follows a none only the oldest-dated meteorite found, but also one of the most unusual - it may actually be a fragment of one of the first proto-planets: Researchers uncover remnants of early solar system (Update)
The other story reveals that more common - and younger - chondrite asteroids, that formed in the early solar system, carried the basic elements needed as building blocks for organic life - carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulphur: Organic makeup of ancient meteorites sheds light on early Solar System.
6. Mini-meteors seen striking moon
Mini-meteorites normally burn up in the Earth's atmosphere - but recent observations caught a couple hitting the more exposed moon: Watch two meteorites hit the Moon
And here's the video:
7. Plate Tectonics - not necessary for life?
Previously arguments have been made that plate tectonics must be essential to life - not least because of the way it helps recycle minerals through the planetary crust. Not so says recent research: Plate tectonics not needed to sustain life.
8. Rosetta releases full image library
And last, but definitely not least...
Remember the Rosetta mission to visit a comet that ended up looking like a rubber ducky? Well, the European Space Agency (ESA) has now released it's full image library to the public: ESA Science & Technology: Rosetta image archive complete
And if you're too impatient to look, the ESA has released a video showing off some of the latest images together:
BONUS! Biology news:
Spiders see in green: What's a spider's favorite color? Study finds surprising answers
Tits show self-control: Great tits have as much impulse control as chimpanzees